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My husband has moved into the spare bedroom

March 9, 2014

… And I’m happy about it! No, I’m not talking about our sleeping arrangements. I’m talking about a new project!! With most of his role in the kitchen remodel coming to an end, Eric is itchin’ to clean up our much-neglected and maligned second bedroom, known to us as the “spare room.” Or maybe he started itchin’ just from walking in there.

Throughout the kitchen project, our dining room has been the dumping ground and boneyard of kitchen detritus. Then, when we threw the centennial party last summer, it all had to magically disappear and leave the dining room company-ready again. Where did all the crap go? Guess! I now sheepishly reveal the state of our spare room (and this is after most of the boxes had been removed):

spare room with junk everywhere

In a house of under 1500 square feet, how can any room be considered “spare”? Don’t you think we could make better use of this space? No kidding.

The plan. You gotta have a plan. How do we want to use this room? Eric wants to move his home office in there from the foyer. Eric has worked from home for years, and the foyer was an ideal space for his setup. (We never use the front door except to feed the porch cats. We live on a corner, and we’re strictly back-door people.) But, times change, and now he must report to the office every day, and he no longer needs to occupy the foyer with computer paraphernalia.

We also want to keep our full size guest bed in there, even though we have not had overnight guests since 2011. We’re thinking of building a Murphy bed. Is this wise? Or should we just stash the frame, mattress, and box spring in the attic until someone decides to pop by?

One thing we agree on: bookshelves. Being writers, we’re also rabid readers, and we are loath to toss a book when we’re done. We desperately need more bookshelves. The room could become an office/library.

One more thing. Two more things. A big treadmill (used occasionally) and a hurky exercise bike (used … never). I guess you could say our intended use of the room is a little unfocused. I don’t know why this should bother me, except that I’ve heard that criticism from too many HGTV Realtors.

Here’s what we’ll be doing to refurbish the room:

  • Remove the carpet. Refinish the floor. Buy a rug.
  • Strip the wallpaper. Paint the walls. (The ceiling was repainted not long ago and looks good).
  • Configure better clothes storage in the closet. This is Eric’s space.
  • Buy new window coverings and light fixture.
  • Install new outlets (there’s only one!).

The first order of business was to remove everything from the room, which fell entirely to Eric when I inconveniently got sick. I truly felt bad about that. I mean, I was really, really sick. I begged Eric to shoot me, but we don’t own a gun. I considered crawling two blocks to the commuter rail station to lie on the tracks at rush hour … but I could scarcely crawl my way out of the Barcalounger. You get the picture. I helplessly hacked and moaned while the furniture in bedroom became furniture in the dining room. Ah, that’s better. I know that look.

dining room filled with bedroom furniture

Now that the room is empty, you can see its features: It’s 11′-9″ x 13′-0″. The entrance is off our dining room (on its north wall). On the east wall is a door to the bathroom.

guest room floor plan

This room is meant to be the master bedroom, but I’ve always used the one at the back of the house because it’s quieter … and the two windows on the south wall look directly into the back door of the house next door, hence the frosted film. On the west wall is the closet door. This closet is approximately 500 ft deep, and I’ve never been to the end of it. There may be a portal to 1913 back there. It’s completely inefficient for storing clothes, and it’s Eric’s option to make it work any way he pleases.

view from closet toward entry door

From closet looking toward entry (with clothes) and bathroom door (with mirror)

door to bathroom and windows

Door to bathroom and south-facing windows

looking toward northwest corner

From windows, looking toward northwest corner; closet door out of frame on left. Notice our token outlet in the baseboard.

What will we do with the floor? I had the carpet installed in 1987. It’s been through three boxers and 10 cats. Anyone who has pets knows what I’m alluding to, here. Those of you who don’t have animals—use your imagination. The main living area floors were refinished 10 years ago, and the same fir flooring is in both bedrooms. But, do we want to refinish it ourselves, or have a pro do it (which involves moving out for three days while the finish off-gases … which I do not relish)? Beneath the carpet is an ancient sheet of linoleum in a gray and green “hooked rug” pattern (a different pattern graces our bedroom). I can’t wait to show it to you! I am probably the only person on Earth who sees the vintage charm in this … therefore, it’s gotta go. We don’t know if the lino is glued to the floor or will peel right up. Ha! … nothing ever “peels right up,” … unless you want it to stick.

What will we do with the walls? My mom and dad helped me paper this room in 1984. (Under the paper is emerald green paint.) My style and taste have changed radically since then (thank goodness). I want to really lighten up the room and simplify it. Part of me says there are lots of cool wallpapers out there that might make a nice accent wall. The other part says “never again.”

Victorian patterned wallpaper

What bothers me about this project is my lack of a clear vision for the result. It was my crystal-clear vision of how I wanted the kitchen to look that guided my decisions and pulled all the details together so well. I’m not there yet with the bedroom. When I mentioned this to Eric, he  said, “This is MY room!” WHAAAAT??? Someone else making design decisions?? But—but—but—I’m an only child! I must have things my own way!! I AM THE DECIDER!!

Can this room be saved? Will Eric’s ideas stand a snowball’s chance in hell? To be continued …

19132013new

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10 Comments
  1. You house has such gorgeous woodwork. I love it. I am not jealous of the wallpaper though. idea of stripping wallpaper makes me itch. Good luck with it. I would love to see you build a Murphy bed for selfish reasons. I have always wanted one and have been contemplating building one in our spare room. I can’t wait to see what you do with this space.

    • Thanks, Jessica! The jury’s out on the Murphy bed, but Eric has priced hardware kits. We have to prioritize our needs … not sure the bed will make the cut. But maybe! It would be a good way to tuck a bed into the space.

  2. I’m rooting for Eric.;-)

  3. D’Arcy,
    The room looks like it has great potential. I’d say you make the design decisions (wallpaper? lighting, etc.) and then Eric can do his magic and make the room “his” after. That seems fair. 🙂
    I had to laugh when you told me about the emerald green paint, under the wallpaper. When Mr. B and I bought our first home (1978) I insisted that the guest room be emerald green with white furnishings…white Parson’s table, etc. I still get teased about the color choice, but it was a different design era and that “look” was popular.
    How fun, another design project, I can’t wait to see the step by step process. It always inspires me to plan a project.
    xo,
    Karen

    • I wanted an emerald green bedroom when I was a kid, but my mom wouldn’t let me do it (hey, it’s only paint!). It’s always funny how what we love now can look so awful decades later. That’s how they keep selling us new stuff! 🙂

  4. Looks like vinyl paper? Hopefully it pulls off without too much of a fight. And this isn’t the advice you asked for, but I’d go with a day bed and a trundle for guests. In the rare event that you have them, they can sleep separately like Ozzie and Harriet, and you’ll have much more floor space.

    • Hi Chad. It’s paper paper … and I’m hoping it pulls off, too! At least it’s only been there for 30 years, not 100 … if that makes any difference. If we didn’t already have the full size bed, a day bed might be the way to go. One thing we like about a Murphy bed is we could build bookshelves on the sides.

  5. Laura S permalink

    My cousins put a Murphy bed in their spare room and absolutely love it. I think it’s a good option to save and use floorspace when the bed isn’t in use.

  6. I know this post was written long ago, and my advice won’t likely help, but when i moved into hubby’s condo in 2012, the 2nd bedroom was the very rarely used guest room, and doubled as his junk room. i claimed the room when i moved in, and kicked the bed to the curb and the junk to the basement. now, when we have guests (rarely), we use a good-quality, double-high (aka waist high) air bed with an inflate/deflate button which our guests love. we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about it. it sure beats having a double bed taking up 50% of the space in “my” room! aka the girl cave. aka my computer room, art studio, and disco ball dance party space.

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